Twitter Disables Verified Accounts After Bitcoin Scam Hack

In this photo illustration, The Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile device
Bethany Clarke / Getty Images

A Bitcoin scam hacked several prominent verified Twitter accounts on Wednesday, Axios reported. Among those affected included Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk. The popular social media platform’s support account also addressed the issue, warning users that they may experience interruptions in regular service.

“You may be unable to Tweet or reset your password while we review and address this incident,” tweeted Twitter Support.

It appeared as if Twitter disabled all verified accounts as a result of the hack. Other accounts affected by the hack included Jeff Bezos, Mike Bloomberg, Kim Kardashian, and Kanye West. Brands did not escape the hack as Apple, Uber, Bitcoin.org, Coinbase, and Ripple were also jeopardized. Musk’s account sent the tweet out three times, and the scam tweet was the first ever from Apple.

The social media giant released a statement about the event to explain the security breach.

“We are aware of a security incident impacting accounts on Twitter. We are investigating and taking steps to fix it. We will update everyone shortly.”

Despite its quick action, Twitter’s stock fell about 4 percent in after-hours trading, according to a CNBC report.

The tweets that went out on affected accounts seemed to have some version of the famous person or brand claiming to feel generous and would give back double the cryptocurrency to every person who sent Bitcoin to a specific wallet address. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s spokesperson said that Twitter locked his account immediately and removed the post that hackers had shared.

In this photo illustration, The Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile device as the company announced it's initial public offering and debut on the New York Stock Exchange on November 7, 2013 in London, England. Twitter went public on the NYSE opening at USD 26 per share, valuing the company's worth at an estimated USD 18 billion.

Unfortunately, at least some users appeared to have fallen for the scams because the Bitcoin wallet associated with the scam received as much as $110,000 worth of cryptocurrency.

The fraud is among the largest ever to hit Twitter, and it has left some experts stunned. Because so many people and news organizations use Twitter as a source of information, any security compromises could wreak havoc both in the U.S. and across the globe in the form of misinformation.

“I’m surprised Twitter hasn’t gone completely dark to prevent misinformation campaigns and political upheaval,” said Rachel Tobac, the CEO of cybersecurity firm SocialProof Security. “We are lucky the attackers are going after bitcoin (money motivated) and not motivated by chaos and destruction.”

Experts also believe that the hackers attacked Twitter as opposed to individual verified accounts.

“It’s really unlikely that Bezos, Musk, and especially Biden all had credentials compromised,” wrote Kelley Robinson, a security advocate for Authy, which is a two-factor authentication provider.